Wednesday, April 24, 2024, Washington DC, USA

Department of Communication and Media- MoFP

South Sudan, a post-conflict state grappling with economic challenges caused by external and internal shocks as a result of conflicts and natural calamities, actively participated in the 2024 World Bank/ IMF Spring Meeting held from 15th to 20th of April this year in Washington DC, the capital city of United States of America.

The meeting, which brought together global finance and economic decision makers, aims to address pressing global economic challenges and opportunities, with a particular focus on loan acquisition, economic cooperation, achaiving Sustainable Development Goals, facilitating debt relief for vulnerable economies, implementing financial management reforms to achieve financial stability, and to exchange views on the impact of emerging technologies on both developed, middle income and developing economies of the member states across the world.

The participation of South Sudan’s government delegation, led by Minister of Finance and Planning, Hon. Eng. Awow Daniel Chuang, and Governor of the Bank of South Sudan, Hon. Dr. James Alic Garang, as Governor and Alternate Governor to the spring meeting respectively, underscored the country’s commitment to engage with the international community and global financial institutions on issues of economic development and financial stability.

Despite facing significant hurdles such as the border dispute in Panthou in 2012 that resulted to temporary closure of pipeline, the aftermath of 2013-2016 political stalemate, the ongoing conflict neighboring Sudan which affects the flow of oil to Port Sudan, the Houthi’s intervention in the Gaza-Israel conflict which affected the cargo shipments of crude oil to the international market coupled with the raging Russia-Ukraine war that devastated the global economy, South Sudan recognizes the importance and relevance of participating in global fora such as the Spring meeting of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund to access financial assistance, technical expertise, and forge partnerships with like-minded states and institutions to seek mechanisms alleviate the economy.

The World Bank/ IMF Spring Meeting provided a platform for South Sudan to highlight its priorities, seek support for economic recovery efforts, and explore opportunities for investment and collaboration to foster growth and stability of the country. The delegation aimed to leverage this global platform to showcase South Sudan’s potential and garner international support through bilateral and multilateral approaches with the concerned institutions.

The 2024 IMF/WB Spring Meeting, held in Washington, D.C., commenced with a series of engagements for the South Sudan’s delegation. Minister Awow and Governor Alic met with the World Bank Vice President for Development Finance, Mr. Akihiko Noshio, and his team to discuss potential areas of cooperation and means of financial assistance. The discussions aimed to establish collaborative frameworks to address South Sudan’s economic challenges and promote sustainable development.

In parallel, the government delegation attended the V20 working group meeting for global Ministers of Finance and Governors of Central Banks. During the meeting, participants focused on developing an action plan to integrate climate risks into the overall financial sector. Climate change remains a significant concern for the world in general and South Sudan in particular, and discussions centered on strategies to mitigate its effects and build resilience within the country’s financial systems.

During the meeting, the Minister, accompanied by the government delegation, held a bilateral meeting with the President of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina. The focus of their discussion revolved around financing the agriculture sector in South Sudan as key area with immense potential to diversify the country’s economy. The meeting also emphasized the importance of investing in this key sector to drive economic growth and food security. The AfDB President used the opportunity to respond to South Sudan’s invitation to visit Juba, acknowledging that he would prioritize his visit to South Sudan before end of his tenure this year. Minister Awow and Adesina also discussed means of accessing funding to finance road infrastructure, digital sector, health and education to improve the economy.

Furthermore, Minister Awow and Governor Alic participated in a roundtable meeting with the World Bank Vice President for the Eastern and South African region, Ms. Victoria Kwakwa. The discussions explored various aspects of implementing the evolution roadmap, emphasizing the need to align South Sudan’s economic policies and strategies with international best practices.

The World Bank pledges to boost its funding in different sectors in South Sudan and increase the projects beyond what they are implementing in the country currently.

On the sidelines of the World Bank/ IMF Spring Meeting, the government delegation also attended the meeting of the Horn of Africa Initiative (HoAI) a regional body that South Sudan joined in 2022. Minister Awow addressed the gathering, underscoring the relevance of the HoAI in fostering regional integration and infrastructural development in South Sudan. He expressed the country’s commitment to expedite its participation in cooperation projects to catch up with other countries in the region.

The government delegation also met with the team from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and discussed ways of exploring financing opportunities for infrastructural projects in South Sudan. The IFC showed interest in supporting the expansion and face-lifting of the Juba International Airport to meet the international standards. The government delegation commended IFC’s commitment to continue supporting South Sudan in its efforts to develop different sectors and diversifying its economy to resist multiple shocks affecting the country.

In a separate development, the government team also met with the International Monetary Fund’s Executive Director for the African region, Mr. Abebe Selasie and discussed the grants portfolios and areas where South Sudan could benefit from IMF funding to key economic sectors.

To foster stronger ties and explore avenues for collaboration, a dinner was organized by the South Sudan Mission to the United States of America in Washington, DC to welcome the government delegation. The event brought together members of the U.S. State Department, the American business community, and friends of South Sudan.

Minister Awow highlighted South Sudan’s vast economic potential and invited investors to visit the country and explore investment opportunities. Dr. James Alic Garang, the Governor of the Bank of South Sudan, emphasized the importance of support from the Bretton Woods institutions in implementing public financial reforms to improve the economy.

In attendance at the dinner was also the national Minister of General Education and Instructions, Hon. Awut Deng Achuil who used the opportunity to brief the gathering about her ministry’s effort to provide education to remote areas of South Sudan but urged for assistance to reach remote and hard to reach areas. She also thanked the international financial institutions specially the IMF for the grand offered to South Sudan through RCF in 2023, which provided for capitation funding aimed at empowering teachers and developing the education sector in general.

South Sudan’s Charge de’ Affaires to the U.S., Ambassador Angong Achuil, stressed the significance of strengthening ties between Juba and Washington, D.C.

The active participation of the government delegation in the World Bank/ IMF Spring Meeting demonstrated the country’s determination to overcome economic challenges, pursue sustainable development, and engage in international partnerships to foster growth and stability. The global forum provided an opportunity for South Sudan to showcase its potential, seek financial support, and explore avenues for collaboration, all to drive economic recovery and ensure a prosperous future for the people of South Sudan.

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